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UN must stop staff abusing children: Aust

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April 17, 2018

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says shocking abuse of power from UN contractors must be investigated.

Australia is demanding overseas contractors and aid agencies actively work to stop child sex abuse after revelations United Nations staff abused people during humanitarian disasters.

International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says the "shocking abuse of power" from UN workers and contractors must be investigated and stopped.

"This behaviour is not only appalling, but completely undermines public confidence in UN institutions," Senator Fierravanti-Wells said in a speech in London on Monday, local time.

She says Australia is seeking assurances from UN agencies and contractors after reports that food packages were traded for sex in Syria and peacekeepers did the same in the Central African Republic.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells also promises to push the case for overseas aid because she said many Australians didn't understand it was an investment, not a handout.

She says overseas aid helped to build economies and institutions that benefit Australia, especially in the area of national security.

"(Overseas development aid is) a powerful tool to support a stable, secure and prosperous neighbourhood," she said.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells also called on the UK to continue funding development in the Pacific region once Brexit is finalised.

She said while the UK's infrastructure development funding had been focused on projects in Africa and Asia, Australia believes the time is right to send more of that money to the Pacific.

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